Michaels: Why I will always advocate for marijuana

Sometimes marijuana can bring people together. Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

April 20, 2023 is upon us. My second favorite holiday of the year (right behind Halloween)! A day to celebrate a gift from our Earth that has helped so many. A day to join together with your friends.

The national holiday on 4/20 is meant to celebrate a love and appreciation for the cannabis plant, which has a multitude of beneficial properties. It is a holiday which doesn’t correlate to any religion, which I believe enhances its meaning. It is a day to celebrate a gift that grows, a day to celebrate mother nature if you will. And I love nature and appreciate what the Earth brings to us.

Personally, I have always been pro marijuana, but I guess when you grow up in a family of hippies it would be that way. It never carried a negative connotation. It remained hidden from me until I was old enough to learn of it, but it was all around me my whole life.

Of course, I did not piece together that my parents were stoners my whole life until after I learned what marijuana was, and when I went to talk to them about it, they were calm and taught me about it.

I learned my mother smoked to calm her chronic anxiety, and it was also a pastime she shared with her mother. My grandma Lo, as her family knew, was a true hippie. This wonderful woman who has since passed away, grew up on a farm with her six siblings, her teenage years corresponding with the 1960’s. She had even gone to Woodstock in 1969.

Marijuana is not only a calming agent that additionally helps to reduce pain, but is a way to bring those who love it together. And that is exactly what it did for my mother and her mother. And for my siblings and me.

I am eight years younger than my sister, and four years younger than my brother. I was too young to get along with them, and I was certainly too young to hang out with them and their friends as they did teenager things – as well as smoking weed with their friends. That is until I was old enough to smoke along with them.

The first time I ever smoked was actually with my brother, as well as my father. I had a long history of anxiety, depression and many other mental diagnoses – I was ready to try something that would help me – and they wanted to be a part of it.

Shortly after my brother, sister and I got together to celebrate and memorialize our grandma’s passing. To do so, we smoked a joint together after a dinner we had. It was something so special for me because I was finally at an age that I had something that could connect me with my siblings, allowing them to see me as the young adult I was growing to be. It was also the one thing we all had to share that would connect us with our grandmother.

Soon after I had started smoking, I spoke to my psychologist to see what their advice would be, and I got the green light. I was actually told that if marijuana helped me, it was better that I use it than take prescribed medication for my anxieties and depression, especially since I never wanted to try them in the first place.

Now I know some may say, “Smoking makes you lazy” or “Smoking marijuana is bad for you” but I will forever disagree as I am a ball of anxiety and stress. I am a straight-A college student, I have a 3.9 GPA, I work three jobs, and I smoke weed every day. Marijuana calms my mind and allows me to focus my thoughts on where they need to be.

However, it is important to acknowledge that smoking anything is inherently not good for your lungs. But smoking marijuana is just one way to consume it. You can eat it in baked goodies, you can purchase tinctures, there are pain salves and there are products that do not contain THC – the chemical makeup of the cannabis plant that gets a person high – using CBD, has the benefits of the plant, without the power to induce a mind altering effect.

Magic may not exist, but to me, this plant is close to it. The properties provided by the green leaf whose buds can make one feel relief, as well as make so many different things.

Marijuana has connected me with my family and friends, but it has also helped tremendously with my mental health. When I am not using this herb to have fun with my friends and family, I smoke in small doses to ease my anxiety and calm my mind. I have taught myself patience through calmness thanks to smoking. I also am an extremely sensitive person, I can become overwhelmed quickly and after a long day, it is the one thing that can ease my nerves. It is the one thing that eases my insomnia. It is my medicine.

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